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ATP World Tour Finals – one year to go…

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:04

Exactly one year on from today, 20,000 tennis fans will watch on as the ATP World Tour Finals, the new name for the Tennis Masters Cup, debuts at its new home, Londons O2 Arena.

The vast stadium, which will host the Finals until 2012, has emerged as one of the English capitals premier events venues not least when it hosted the UK leg of the Turbo Tennis tour last year, won by a certain Mr Murray.

But while the then emerging Scot landed $100,000 for his days work back then, the now-established world No.4 could be in line for a substantially greater payday should he reach his second season finale next season. On offer will be total prize-money of $5 million, up from $4.45 million this year along with, of course, one of the most prestigious titles in tennis.

“I’m sure it will be a spectacular event in what looks like a fantastic venue – Federer

Played in a round-robin format, the top eight plus any Grand Slam champs from outside the from the season-long ATP Race play three group matches for a berth in the knockout semi-finals, with prize-money dependent on the progress each player makes, and number of wins.

The season finale has, in one form or another, been round since the Masters was first played in 1970 in Tokyo. From 1977 to 1989, the event resided at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, before being rebranded as the ATP Tour World Championships in 1990. German cities Frankfurt and Hannover shared the event through to 1999, and in 2000 the event was rebranded Tennis Masters Cup and taken on the road.

In a dramatic beginning to the Tennis Masters Cup in 2000 in Lisbon, Gustavo Kuerten became the first South American to rank year-end No.1 after stunning Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the semi-finals and final. Australian Lleyton Hewitt won on home soil in Sydney in 2001 and in Shanghai the following year.

Roger Federer then won back-to-back titles in Houston in 2003 and 2004 before the finale returned to Shanghai for the past four seasons. David Nalbandian upset Federer in a five-set thriller to take the title in 2005 before Federer again won consecutive crowns in 2006 and 2007. Shanghais fourth and final Tennis Masters Cup this November saw Novak Djokovic emerge victorious.

On offer will be total prize-money of $5 million, up from $4.45 million this year…

The world’s best tennis players coming together in the unique and iconic setting of London’s O2 Arena to decide who will be crowned ATP World Tour Final champion, is simply an irresistible and potent mix, Etienne de Villiers, executive chairman of the ATP, said about the move in 2007.

London is the world’s most cosmopolitan city with a vibrancy and energy that makes it ideally suited to hosting this event. The ATP visits over 30 countries, so having our end of season finale in such a diverse city could not be more appropriate.

Roger Federer, for one, is looking forward to the switch of venue. I love coming to London for The Championships each summer, so I am delighted that the end of season championships will be moving to one of my favourite cities in the world. I’m sure it will be a spectacular event in what looks like a fantastic venue.

There’s just one question on everyone’s lips: Shanghai had the terracotta warriors – what will London do? Send them to Madame Tussaud’s for a waxwork makeover, or dress them up as Beefeaters?

And, if you’re as keen as we are, you can register for ticket pre-booking now on the ATP’s official website.

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